After being selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft, former Miami Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin posted modest numbers in the NBA for four seasons, spending time with four teams – the Mavericks, Knicks, Nets, and Celtics – during that stretch. Most recently, he appeared in 54 games for the 2017/18 C’s, averaging 4.3 PPG and 1.8 APG in a part-time role (14.4 MPG).
Following his one year in Boston, Larkin headed overseas to play for Turkish club Anadolu Efes Istanbul. And in contrast to his fairly pedestrian NBA production, the 27-year-old point guard has been putting up increasingly eyebrow-raising stats in the EuroLeague.
As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, Larkin’s most recent achievement came on Friday, when he broke the EuroLeague’s single-game scoring record by racking up 49 points in 31 minutes on just 19 field goal attempts. Larkin’s 10-for-12 performance on three-pointers in that blowout win over Bayern Munich is further evidence of his improved shooting, according to Givony, who notes that the former first-round pick has also been “living at the free throw line” in Europe.
Through 10 EuroLeague contests this season, Larkin is the league’s leading scorer with 22.0 PPG. His shooting line is a scorching .512/.508/.871, and he’s going to the free throw line seven times per game.
Larkin’s strong EuroLeague play didn’t just begin this season. When Anadolu Efes earned a spot in last season’s EuroLeague Final Four, he led the team to the final with a 30-point showing in the semis, then scored a record-breaking 29 points in the championship game, though his team lost to CSKA Moscow. His 59 points in a EuroLeague Final Four marked the highest total since 1994.
Larkin’s current contract with Anadolu Efes runs through the 2020/21 season, but it reportedly features an NBA opt-out during the summer of 2020, so the veteran point guard could return stateside next year he gets an offer he likes. According to a EuroHoops report, he received at least a couple NBA offers last offseason, but they wouldn’t have provided the sort of role he sought.
With Larkin showing he deserves another shot in the NBA, it will be interesting to see which teams might pursue him next summer, and whether or not he’ll even want to return. He’s currently one of the highest-paid players in Europe and is the star of one of the EuroLeague’s best teams (Anadolu Efes is 9-2 so far this season). In other words, it will likely take more than a small bench role on a minimum-salary deal to lure him back.